Illinois Passes New Comprehensive Energy Bill
After an extraordinary extension of the legislative session, the Illinois House and Senate finally agreed and passed an omnibus energy bill that was signed by the Governor in September.
The Climate and Equitable Jobs Act is the most sweeping legislation to be passed in over a decade and with its passage, Illinois will have some of the most significant clean energy and decarbonization commitments in the nation. It will require Illinois to be reliant on 100% renewable energy by 2050. It also provides $694 million in subsidies for nuclear power, expands aid programs for renewable energy, and takes steps to provide jobs and clean communities.
There is still no agreement about what the cost of the legislation will be to consumers, with much of the costs difficult to determine until the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) begins to adopt rule-making for many of the programs and policies in the new law. The Governor’s Office estimates that the average consumer will see their bills cost $4 to $5 more per month, but consumer group AARP says that bills could increase by as much as $15 monthly.
Analysis done for BOMA/Chicago estimates that for all customers in the ComEd Service Area, the total cost increase will be about $9.5B over the next 10 years and will represent a major rate increase that will be borne by Illinois businesses. For BOMA/Chicago members, that translates into a cumulative increase of about $1.2 million for a large office building; and as much as $7.8 million for those that fall into the Extra Large Commercial Customer rate.
The consensus among the Illinois business community is, that despite being legitimate and principal customer stakeholders, there was no opportunity to meaningfully participate in the legislative working groups. While there was some early engagement by the Governor’s office, the concerns about cost and reliability voiced by business and large consumer groups were largely ignored in the final bill, which came down to a stalemate between labor organizations and environmental groups as well as negotiations over differing priorities amount the House and Senate Democratic caucuses.
Despite that disappointment, we supported and achieved the end of the formula rate making that was created under IEMA, which virtually amounted to automatic rate increases. The new legislation introduces “performance-based rate making” that will go into effect January 1, 2024. The ICC will begin holding workshops to discuss what metrics will be used to determine whether the utility is performing well.